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[Susan notes: Kudos to Stephen Krashen for reminding people: It's the poverty. I would add that in many urban schools the poverty rates exceeds 95%.]

Published in Christian Science Weekly Magazine
09/15/2014

To the editor

Common core doesn't fix the real problem of education– poverty.



Arguments for opposing the common core presented by Gov. Jindal ("Common Core: Bobby Jindal says Obama forcing a national curriculum," August 27) do not include the reasons many professional educators and researchers oppose it.



A central argument is that there is no need for a radical change in curriculum or testing.



Substantial improvement will come only when we deal with the real problem: Poverty. When researchers control for the effect of poverty, American test scores are near the top of the world. Our unspectacular overall scores are because the US has the second highest level of child poverty among all 34 economically advanced countries (now over 23%, compared to high-scoring Finland’s 5.4%).



Poverty means poor nutrition, inadequate health care, and lack of access to books, among other things. All of these negatively impact school performance. Instead of protecting children from the effect of poverty, the common core is investing billions in an untested curriculum and massive testing, despite research showing that increasing testing does not increase achievement.

Stephen Krashen, USC Professor Emeritus


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